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                               SOUTHERN CORDILLERA   

TERRAIN   Andes Mountains  Rivers & Lakes  Atacama & Altiplano  Pacific Coast 

                   THE PACIFIC COASTLINE

Chile is a narrow country, sandwiched between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  Much of the coastline here and in Peru is rocky and inhospitable.  Elsewhere, there are endless beaches of sand, and in a few sites the ocean front is blighted with condominiums.  To south of Santiago, most of the towns and cities are inland, well away from the coastline.  To the north, where the world's driest desert meets the ocean, most towns are coastal. 

In Patagonian Chile, glaciers of the ice age gouged out what are now fjords into the mountains.  This has its north Pacific counterpart in British Columbia and Alaska, but they start here at Vancouver at 49 deg. latitude.  In Chile they start at Puerto Montt seven and a half degrees of latitude closer to the equator.  There is also an "inland passage" in the fjordlands of Chile similar to the one in B.C.-Alaska, but it is cut by a narrow area of lowlands south of Laguna San Rafael, forcing boats into a long and rough tour into the open ocean.

There are two pages of photos in this section:

Coastline, south, central and general

Atacama coast

And in addition, from the Lifestyles section

Of Fishing and Fishermen